Dental Appointments and COVID-19

Microscopic view of Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic is having wide-ranging impacts on our everyday lives, including scheduled dental and other appointments. We all need to work together to prevent the spread of the virus.

Will the COVID-19 outbreak impact my dental appointment?

Since March 16 , the ADA has called on dentists nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures through April 30 in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Concentrating on emergency and urgent dental care only during this period will allow dentists and their teams to care for emergency patients and reduce the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.

However, some states and areas may relax social distancing mandates before April 30 and allow businesses – including dental offices – to resume more normal operations. On April 18, the ADA issued an updated statement telling dentists to listen to their state mandates and combine that with their professional judgment to decide when to start seeing patients for non-emergency appointments again. Along with this, there will be some guidance on appropriate items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of their patients, staff members, and themselves. Some dentists may decide to go back to regular appointments before others and patients should contact their dentist’s office directly to find out their plans.

How do I know what is considered a dental emergency?

Here’s a guide to what you can reschedule for a time when your dentist has resumed normal operations, and what you should consider an emergency. You can also download this guide. If you’re not sure whether your dental care need counts as an emergency, call your dentist’s office. They can help decide if you need to be seen immediately.

  1. Dental care you can reschedule for another time:

    • Regular visits for exams, cleanings and x-rays
    • Regular visits for braces
    • Removal of teeth that aren’t painful
    • Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
    • Tooth whitening
  2. Dental care that you should have taken care of by a dentist at this time:

    • Bleeding that doesn’t stop
    • Painful swelling in or around your mouth
    • Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
    • Gum infection with pain or swelling
    • After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
    • Broken or knocked out tooth
    • Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
    • Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
    • Biopsy of abnormal tissue

Even during this outbreak, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Learn how to take care of your mouth when you’re sick.

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